Appear Provisioning Server Powers Profitable European WLAN Hotspots

3/30/2004 - Appear Networks, a Franco-Swedish software company part of the Remote Reward group, announced that its flagship product, Appear Provisioning Server (APS 4.2), is now regarded as a de facto standard for deploying value-added services on Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) hotspots. Recent customer wins such as Stockholm Subway (SL/Connex), Paris Subway (RATP), French Railway (SNCF), University of Geneva and France Télécom R&D have confirmed the leadership of Appear Networks in the fast-growing space of WLAN advanced services - services that go beyond simple Internet access and e-mailing.

Appear Networks also announced joining the Cisco AVVID Partner Program as a wireless networking solution partner. Following a phase of pre-commercialisation and pilot testing with major WLAN operators and location-owners throughout Europe, the APS platform has met the Cisco AVVID (Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data) Partner Program test criteria for interoperability with Cisco Aironet Series of WLAN products as determined by independent third party verification. Through participation in the Cisco AVVID Partner Program, APS 4.2 enables WLAN operators and location-owners using Cisco-based infrastructure to quickly and easily deploy value-added services for public users and local employees.

"Cisco has always regarded value-added services as a key market driver for the Cisco end to end wireless broadband infrastructure" explains Christophe Servais, global marketing manager for Public Access WLAN for Cisco’s Product and Technology Marketing Organization. "With Cisco AVVID partner offerings, such as Appear Provisioning Server, customers can deploy a broad range of business solutions and drive rapid adoption of business-critical technologies".

APS 4.2 and Appear Positioning Engine Zone Edition (APE-ZE) together help identify the position of a user within a particular zone and both have met the Cisco AVVID Partner Program test criteria. The most important feature of the APS platform is its leading-edge context-aware engine, which enables services and applications to be presented automatically to a user, depending on the time, location, user profile and type of device. This capability turns a standard WLAN hotspot into an intelligent workspace: the Workspot. In a Workspot, a visitor or an employee can access location and time-sensitive information onto his mobile device. In contrast with a standard hotspot, where only simple internet browsing and emailing can be performed, a Workspot can deliver a much wider range of applications related to local business processes and customers needs.

One of Appear Networks´ most advanced deployment is the Stockholm Subway Workspot: using the APS platform, local Connex employees can send and receive location and time-sensitive traffic or safety information, directly on their handheld device, via the local Cisco wireless broadband infrastructure. For example, an employee can notify his control centre of an incident on the network, via a silent geo-localised Wi-Fi alert, or visualize the timetable for the next buses leaving from his station. With the APS platform, a whole new level of customer service and traffic safety can be achieved.

"The Stockholm Public Transit Authority is now operating at the forefront of wireless technologies with the successful test deployment of context-aware Wi-Fi (WLAN) services" explained Åke Lindström, Project Manager at SL. "For the first time ever, an underground Wi-Fi network enables subway personnel to send alerts and receive real-time traffic information on their handhelds. Wi-Fi services are important for employees because they help them deliver better information to our customers and provide higher levels of security. I am certain that, in the near future, similar services will also be available to the public. More important than the system itself, be it 3G, Wi-Fi or others, however, are the value-added services available on the network. What will you do during the five minutes wait before the next train? Quickly check the services available in that station, or perhaps download the latest news report or your favourite magazine to read offline while onboard the train. Upon arrival at your destination, and before leaving the hotspot coverage, you can then download a map of the area to quickly find the location of your next meeting."

Xavier Aubry, co-founder and VP business development for Appear Networks, says "By meeting the Cisco AVVID Program’s testing criteria, Appear Network’s technology is extending the Cisco end-to-end architecture with our innovative products and technologies for delivering value-added services for WLAN hotspots. Hotspots are no longer only considered as simple internet access zones, they are used as Workspots: places where productivity applications and other value-added services can be discovered and downloaded", Aubry added "We have been working very closely with Cisco for about two years and our Cisco Aironet and Appear Network-based solution is now being deployed in several environments such as public transportation, universities and local councils. APS 4.2 finally fills the gap in the Wi-Fi value-chain: it is the necessary link between Wi-Fi infrastructure and applications, the key to a profitable roll-out of WLAN hotspots".

About Appear Networks:
Appear Networks is a Franco-Swedish software provider dedicated to the needs of today’s mobile users: allowing easy access to any wireless application, across different networks, on multiple mobile devices. Appear Provisioning Server is a software platform currently used by major operators to deploy value-added services in WorkspotsTM. Workspots are wireless-enabled zones such as airports, subway stations, or conference venues, where visitors and local workers can discover and download new applications over-the-air, in one single click, using Appear Networks’ patented Click & RunTM software technology. The "Click & Run"TM software technology enables any communicating mobile device to discover, load and run applications available locally in one simple click. Appear Networks' technology is ideal for local mobile workers as well as for visitors to public hotspots. Appear Networks has successfully partnered with leading IT companies such as Cisco, Intel, Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Its current customers are large corporations such as RATP (French Subway), SNCF (French Railway), SL (Stockholm Public Transportation Authority), CGEA-Connex (Veolia Environment group), FMV (Swedish Defence), Sagem Defence & Security and European WLAN operators.

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